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We are focused on reducing barriers and increasing opportunities so all people can get help when they need it. We are using equity as a lens to drive response operations and deliver better services to marginalized and other vulnerable populations.

On January 20, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. released the Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government requiring agencies assess equity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, income, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

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“We’re turning a page at FEMA and infusing equity throughout our agency, programs, and policies to better serve people who face unique barriers before, during and after disasters.” – FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell


We are committed to delivering better services to marginalized and other vulnerable populations. These communities face systemic barriers and are disproportionately affected by climate change.

While there is a lot of work to do to implement long term systemic change, we have taken steps and have started several initiatives to address equity in FEMA programs. This includes:

  • Encouraging active employee engagement to ensure internal discussions generate new ideas on workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Expanding eligibility criteria for Critical Needs Assistance to include applicants who state they have a need for shelter but have not been able to leave their damaged dwelling.
  • Expanding access by integrating a Documentation Drop Off Center model for Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) that enables survivors to submit documentation in-person, notifies survivors when a representative is available and provides estimated wait times.

Read more about FEMA's initial initiatives to advance equity.

Equity Enterprise Steering Group

Co-chaired by the Office of Equal Rights and the Office of Response and Recovery, the Equity Enterprise Steering Group (ESG):

  • Creates a FEMA-wide definition of equity, and framework for implementing equity into agency programs, in line with FEMA core values: compassion, fairness, integrity, and respect;
  • Reviews and recommends revision to FEMA-wide policies, procedures, plans, and guidance, in collaboration with FEMA Enterprise Governance Boards, as appropriate;
  • Ensures integration of equity considerations to drive equitable outcomes.

FEMA’s 2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan

We are developing our 2022-2026 strategic plan through inputs from stakeholders within the agency and beyond to reflect a whole community perspective. Stakeholders will inform the agency’s goals and objectives, with equity as a foundational priority for the coming years.

Public Comment Period on Climate Change and Underserved Populations - Closed

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From April to July 2021, FEMA sought public comment on how the agency's programs deal with climate change and underserved communities and populations. The period for comment closed on July 21 and the agency is currently processing the input received.

The results of this request for information (RFI) will inform the 2022-2026 FEMA Strategic Plan and will help us better support communities and underserved populations when it comes to resiliency and climate change.

Read the RFI Summary Online

Download the RFI Summary Report

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